Anderson solid as Gophers beat KSU

Gophers pitcher Toby Anderson throws the ball against Kansas State at Siebert Field on Tuesday, April 28th. Anderson pitched 6 and 1/3 innings before allowing a hit.

Alex Tuthill-Preus

Gophers pitcher Toby Anderson throws the ball against Kansas State at Siebert Field on Tuesday, April 28th. Anderson pitched 6 and 1/3 innings before allowing a hit.

Ben Gotz

Gophers pitcher Toby Anderson worked swiftly and calmly on the mound Tuesday night, lightly jogging to and from the dugout between innings.
 
For the most part, the tall, lanky righty stayed silent on the field — just like the bats of Minnesota’s opponent, Kansas State.
 
Anderson worked seven innings for the Gophers (19-21, 7-11 Big Ten) in a 5-0 victory over the Wildcats. He didn’t allow his first baserunner until the sixth inning or his first hit until the seventh.
 
“I probably threw 85 percent fastballs tonight and just located it down at the knees,” Anderson said. “[Kansas State] kept pounding it into the ground. It was really effective tonight.”
 
Anderson began the game with five perfect innings, and he struck out two batters in the process.
 
The Idaho native didn’t allow a Wildcat to reach base until  their No. 8 hitter, Ethan Klosterboer, in the sixth inning.
 
Klosterboer didn’t stay on base for long, though, as catcher Matt Halloran caught him stealing to end the top of the sixth inning.
 
Anderson allowed a single up the middle in the next inning to junior shortstop Tyler Wolfe, breaking up his no-hitter.
 
“They hit a few balls hard at people, but of course, the little bleeder goes through the middle,” Halloran said. “But that’s how it goes sometimes.”
 
Anderson stranded Wolfe at first by getting the next two batters to fly to left field. 
 
He finished his start with seven innings of shutout baseball and three strikeouts.
 
Because he was near his pitch count, Anderson didn’t return. But his command and confidence caught the eye of his head coach.
 
“He’s still going through the growth process here, so that was another step for him — a positive step for him,” head coach John Anderson said. “And he has to learn that he has to throw the ball in the strike zone. He’ll get outs.”
 
The Gophers provided their starter with run support early, building a quick lead that began in the second inning.
 
Third baseman Tony Skjefte hit a stand-up triple. And two at-bats later, freshman designated hitter Micah Coffey hit a sacrifice fly to bring him home.
 
Halloran added to the Gophers’ lead in the fifth inning by hitting his third home run of the season to right center field. The play brought Minnesota up 2-0.
 
“It felt awesome off the bat,” Halloran said. “There’s no better feeling than hitting a home run.”
 
Another long ball — a two-run blast from redshirt sophomore left fielder Jordan Smith — put the Gophers up 4-0 before freshman Lucas Gilbreath took the mound in relief of Anderson.
 
Gilbreath worked around two walks to keep the shutout alive, and the Gophers tacked on one more run in the bottom of the inning when Halloran hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.
 
Three outs later, the Gophers secured the victory in their two-game midweek series with the Wildcats.
 
And now that he doesn’t have no-hitter on the line, Anderson’s teammates can finally talk to him.
 
“I didn’t say a word to him. I just gave him knucks after each inning,” Halloran said. “It was kind of funny, the umpire [said] after the hit, ‘Now we can talk about it.’ It was pretty fun. It was a great outing.”